The folks at BigRep, who work out of Germany, have developed a full scale 3D printer. Typically, 3D printers allow us to print small parts or components. With these smart parts, we can create an assembly of a prototype. We can also create small examples of our designs, but why should we stop at small? The BigRep One 3D printer has a working volume of a four foot cube. The total volume capable is 46 cubic feet.
The world of design can be revolutionized with the full scale printer. No longer are we subjected to printing hand held sized objects, we can quickly and iteratively produce full scale prototypes of products. The opportunities to use this technology are endless. The furniture and design industry will be changed dramatically because now everyone has the capability to design and then quickly see what they have designed. The rapid protyping process will help create better designs and allow people to realize where problems lie in designs before production starts. Why does starting production even have to be another step in the process. With a full scale 3D printer, everyone has the capability of being a designer, builder, fabricator, and seller.
There is always a market for the next big and cool thing. When the Eames chairs went famous, everybody wanted one. The problem with full scale 3D printing is that rapid production means everyone would actually be able to have a newly famous design. That may be bad for the designer, since the BigRep One is $39,000, but it will allow good design for the masses. Eames always wished for everyone to have access to good design. Now with a full scale 3D printer and an open source network of designs, everyone does have access. Everyone can create the world to suit their needs. Everyone can be connected.